Last time on The Allender Center Podcast (check out part 1 by clicking here), Dan launched a new series exploring our signature Training Certificate, a year-long program that guides individuals through engagement with their own stories of harm and trauma for the sake of learning to offer healing and restoration in the stories of others. This week, Dan is joined by his wife, Becky Allender, who shares about her own experience of going through the Training Certificate and the impact that it continues to have in her life.
Becky: “I had the most wild and wonderful ride with my group leader and the six other people in my group, just loved it. I couldn’t believe what reading one story and then processing it could do, and then listening to their stories and processing. And with the skill of a facilitator who has done this for over a decade, it was transformative. I was over the moon experiencing life and freedom and more connection with the group leaders, the teaching staff, and my friends and family.”
For years before enrolling as a participant herself, Becky served as a behind-the-scenes intercessor and prayer team leader during the Training Certificate sessions. She saw the importance of the program and the work it was fostering in the lives of many, and she loved praying and laboring on behalf of the people going through the work. But, says Becky, she was resistant to pursuing group story work herself.
Becky: “Then I realized the power of the group experience, and I was a goner. I came home a changed woman. […] I became more aware of desires and needs that I have, and I spoke to those more forthrightly.”
Dan: “The work you did in the group opened so much more of your heart’s desire for connection than almost any other experience I’ve seen you go through.”
Becky: “With the stories that I didn’t even really remember until the assignment to write, I think it gave an avenue of clarity of why I am the way I am, and why my style of relating has been the way it has been. It allowed me to have compassion for parts of myself that I wasn’t proud of—I wasn’t proud of my quietness, my timidness, and I was able to see the root of the reasons why that became such an integral part of myself as a very young child.”
Dan and Becky discuss the experience of learning to honor and bless both the harm and the goodness they received in their families of origin with more depth, kindness, and freedom. For Becky, the experience has changed how she approaches her marriage, how she tends to the wounded parts of herself, how she steps more fully into her unique calling, and even how she interacts with more intention, clarity, and gratitude with others in day-to-day settings, like the grocery store or a yoga class.
Becky: “In this setting, you have the luxury of time to follow the sentence that leads to shame, to follow the sentence that left that person in such a vulnerable, dark place, not just to have sympathy—and for me this has been the uncomfortable part—but to go deeper into the sorrow. From my own experience, it was the deeper, sorrow-filled, dark parts that the leader or other members of my group kept pushing me to go a bit farther in, that is where the lights connected and went off. […] It’s that releasing of stories that allows such freedom and new awareness of yourself and others.”
Dan: “You do engage my own heartache differently. Instead of just the care that you normally would have provided, you really are committed to deepening and broadening the implications of the matters that my heart is engaging. And—my goodness—you are way more powerful with regard to the sword you carry.”
Becky: “There was more healing—so much more healing than I ever could have imagined.”